Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating COVID-19?

Antibiotics do not work against viruses; they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. In hospitals, physicians will sometimes use antibiotics to prevent or treat secondary bacterial infections which can be a complication of COVID-19 in severely ill patients. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection.

Are there treatments for COVID-19?

Scientists around the world are working to find and develop treatments for COVID-19. Optimal supportive care includes oxygen for severely ill patients and those who are at risk for severe disease and more advanced respiratory support such as ventilation for patients who are critically ill. Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that can help reduce the length of time on a ventilator and save lives of patients with severe and critical illness. Read our dexamethasone Q&A for more information. Results from the WHO’s Solidarity Trial indicated that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon…

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

Not yet. Many potential vaccines for COVID-19 are being studied, and several large clinical trials may report results later this year. If a vaccine is proven safe and effective, it must be approved by national regulators, manufactured, and distributed. WHO is working with partners around the world to help coordinate key steps in this process. WHO is working through the ACT-Accelerator to facilitate equitable access to a safe and effective vaccine for the billions of people who will need it, once it is available. More information about COVID-19 vaccine development…

What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

If you have any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, contact your health care provider or COVID-19 hotline for instructions and find out when and where to get a test, stay at home for 14 days away from others and monitor your health. If you have shortness of breath or pain or pressure in the chest, seek medical attention immediately. Call your health care provider or hotline in advance for direction to the right health facility. If you live in an area with malaria or dengue fever, seek medical care if you…

How long does it take to develop symptoms?

The time from exposure to COVID-19 to the moment when symptoms begin is, on average, 5-6 days and can range from 1-14 days. This is why people who have been exposed to the virus are advised to stay home, apart from others, for 14 days, in order to prevent the spread of the virus, especially where testing is not easily available.

What should I do if I have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19?

If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you may become infected, even if you feel well. After exposure to someone who has COVID-19, do the following: Call your health care provider or COVID-19 hotline to find out where and when to get a test. Cooperate with contact-tracing procedures to stop the spread of the virus. If testing is not available, stay home and away from others for 14 days. During this time, do not go to work, to school or to public places. Ask someone to bring you…

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Both isolation and quarantine are methods of preventing the spread of the disease. Quarantine means restricting activities and/or separating people who are not ill but may have been exposed to COVID-19. The quarantine can take place in a designated facility or at home for 14 days. Isolation means separating people who are ill with symptoms of COVID-19 and/or have tested positive.

I want to find out if I had COVID-19 in the past, what test should I take?

Antibody tests can tell us whether someone has had an infection in the past, even if they have not had symptoms. Also known as serological tests and usually done on a blood sample, these tests detect antibodies produced in response to an infection. In most people, antibodies start to develop after days to weeks and can indicate if a person has had recent (IgM type antibodies) or past infection (IgG type). Antibody tests cannot be used to diagnose COVID-19 in the early stages of infection or disease. They also cannot…

What about rapid tests?

Rapid tests (sometimes known as a rapid diagnostic test – RDT) detect viral proteins (known as antigens). Samples are collected from the nose and/or throat with a swab. These tests are cheaper than PCR and will offer results more quickly, although they are generally less accurate. We are still learning about how well they perform and when to use them.

What test should I get to see if I have COVID-19?

In most situations, a molecular test is used to detect SARS-CoV-2 and confirm COVID-19. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the most commonly used molecular test. Samples are collected from the nose and/or throat with a swab. Molecular tests detect virus in the sample by amplifying viral genetic material to detectable levels. For this reason, a molecular test is used to confirm an active infection, usually within a few days of exposure and around the time that symptoms may begin.